Nfld. & Labrador

Victims of RCMP sexual harassment speak out in St. John's

A public forum held in downtown St. John's on Thursday night on sexual harassment inside the RCMP turned out not to be so public after all.

Several women asked to speak to committee behind closed doors

Committee co-chair and York West MP Judy Sgro says she knows of at least 10 women in St. John's who have their own harassment stories to tell. (CBC)

A public forum held in downtown St. John's on Thursday night on sexual harassment inside the RCMP turned out not to be so public after all.

The forum was held by a committee of Liberal MPs and senators traveling across the country to hear from women who were victimized or who are still experiencing sexual harrassment while working for the Mounties.

But only a handful of people were in the room when things got started around 7 p.m.

Committee co-chair and York West MP Judy Sgro said she was not surprised.

"It's about intimidation. It's about them worrying for their careers, they all have mortgages to pay as well," said Sgro.

"It's very difficult. People have been quite seriously affected by what they've been through. We can start at the beginning with a smile, but by the end of the two-hour session, it really just leaves you quite appalled that this kind of harrassment would go on in an organization that all of us, as Canadians, are immensely proud of."

The St. John's forum was the third of five meetings.

The committee has already heard from women in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Sgro said there are a fair number of women affected in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

"We're doing one here, so that women have a chance, to be able to come in an area where they're feeling comfortable and to tell us exactly what happened to them ... and what needs to change — in order to change the culture of the RCMP."

Sgro said she knows of at least 10 women in the St. John's area alone who have their own stories of harassment to tell.

None of them showed up for the public session, however three arrived after the gathering moved behind closed doors, according to Sgro's chief of staff. 

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